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Makita XCU03Z LXT Review

A commendable cordless chainsaw that can be quite a drain on your bank account unless you already own Makita batteries
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Makita XCU03Z LXT Review
Price:  $390 List
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Manufacturer:   Makita
By Ross Patton ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 23, 2019
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 13
  • Saw Performance - 35% 7.5
  • Ease of Use - 30% 5.0
  • Battery - 25% 6.0
  • Noise - 5% 4.0
  • Weight - 5% 7.6

Our Verdict

This model has good cutting power, but it didn't exactly outshine the competition in most of our tests. Although this is not our favorite cordless chainsaw, it is still a great choice for some people, specifically for those that already own Makita batteries. With a hefty price tag, this model doesn't make sense to buy as a standalone tool.
REASONS TO BUY
Adjustable oil flow
Unique chain tensioning system
Great if you already own the batteries
REASONS TO AVOID
Having two batteries is not ideal
Loud
Inconvenient electronic button
Expensive

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Price $390 List
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Bottom Line All in all this is a good tool, but without already owning the batteries it's expensiveIf you want an easy-to-use cordless electric chainsaw with a long-lasting battery and a long bar this is the oneA battery-powered model with exceptional cutting performance and boost modeIf you want a saw with a battery that charges in a matter of minutes, then this is the oneIf you're in the market for a 20 volt model, this saw does the trick for quick and small jobs
Rating Categories Makita XCU03Z LXT Ego Power+ CS1800 Husqvarna Power Axe... Greenworks Pro 80V Worx WG322
Saw Performance (35%)
7.5
8.5
9.0
8.5
5.5
Ease of Use (30%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Battery (25%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
Noise (5%)
4.0
6.6
7.6
6.9
7.9
Weight (5%)
7.6
6.2
6.3
6.0
9.4
Specs Makita XCU03Z LXT Ego Power+ CS1800 Husqvarna Power Axe... Greenworks Pro 80V Worx WG322
Model Number XCU03Z CS1800 350i GCS80420 WG322
Bar Length 14 inches 18 inches 18 inches 18 inches 10 inches
Measured Average Cutting Time 7.87 seconds 5.876 seconds 7.07 seconds 5.32 seconds 38.382 seconds
Measured Battery Charge Time 1 hr 1.5 hr 2.75 hr .5 hr 3 hr
Measured Weight 11 lbs, 4 oz 14 lbs, 11 oz 14 lbs, 6 oz 15 lbs, 2 oz 6 lbs, 10 oz
Measured Battery Weight 1 lb, 6 oz x 2 4 lbs, 13 oz 4 lbs, 2 oz 3 lbs, 8 oz 1 lbs, 10 oz
Measured Body Dimesions 17x6x8 inches 16x9x8 inches 18.5 x 8 x 6 inches 14x9x7.5 inches 13x8x7.5 inches
Included Battery Size 5 Ah 5 Ah 7.7Ah 2 Ah 2 Ah
Nominal Voltage 36V (2 x 18V) 56V 36V 80V 20V
Measured Runtime 28 minutes 60 minutes 51 minutes 27 minutes 22 minutes
Measured Run Time Eco Mode n/a n/a 67 mins n/a n/a
Measured Wind Up Time .75 seconds 1.25 seconds .25 seconds 1.15 seconds 2 seconds
Measured Decibel Reading at 48in 105.7 dBa 88.8 dBa 82.1 dBa 86.8 dBa 80.0 dBa
Control Type Electronic button, palm safety, and chain brake Side safety w/ chain brake Electronic button, palm safety, and chain brake Electronic button, side safety, and brake Thumb safety
Chain Replacement and Tensioning Type Tool free Tool Free Tool free Tool free Tool free
Metal Bucking Spikes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Oil Conservation 9 8 9 6 8
Bar & Chain Tank Location and Type Side Side, Screen Side Top Top

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Makita XCU03ZLXT is an adequate tool, but it fails to distinguish itself from the rest of the products in our review. Unless you already own Makita tools and the specific batteries that work with this saw, it makes sense to go with a more affordable model.

Performance Comparison


makita xcu03z lxt - the makita is good model if you already own makita batteries.
The Makita is good model if you already own Makita batteries.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Likes


The LXT has some solid features. First and foremost, it has great cutting performance. During our lumber cutting test, the Makita had an average time of 7.9 seconds per cut putting it near the top of the field.


This model also has a decent runtime of 28 minutes as well as a short recharge time of 1 hour. One feature that really sets the Makita apart is that it has an adjustable pump for the bar and chain oil. This can be very handy for people that live in more variable climates, as the viscosity of oil changes with temperature as well from brand to brand. Some of the saws that we've tested dump oil out at a ridiculous rate, so it's great to be able to dial the pump down if it seems like the oil is flowing too quickly.

makita xcu03z lxt - the oil pump flow on the lxt easily adjusts with a screwdriver.
The oil pump flow on the LXT easily adjusts with a screwdriver.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Of all of the tool-free chain tensioning systems, the Makita is our favorite. The fold-out lever extends to give the user extra mechanical advantage, making adjustments a cinch.

makita xcu03z lxt - of the tool-free chain tensioning systems that we tested, the makita...
Of the tool-free chain tensioning systems that we tested, the Makita was one of the easiest to use and allowed for accurate adjustments.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Dislikes


As an added feature Makita has made it so that in order to operate the chainsaw a power button needs to be pushed every time the operator wants to make a cut. This is a great feature for people who aren't using the saw often, but it adds time to each cut which can really slow you down over the course of the day.

makita xcu03z lxt - the electronic power button on top of the makita xcu03z is an...
The electronic power button on top of the Makita XCU03Z is an unnecessary feature.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Having two batteries is not ideal. Unless you already own Makita tools or batteries it is frivolous to have to deal with charging and keeping track of an extra battery.

The Makita XCU03Z LXT is also very loud. One of the loudest saws we've ever used, the Makita produces a maddening 105.7 decibels of noise for the user at full throttle and the pitch emitted by the saw is extra whiny.


Value


We reviewed several saws that are cheaper and outperform the Makita XCU03Z LXT in aspects other than cutting.

makita xcu03z lxt - one of the best things that the makita has going for it is its...
One of the best things that the Makita has going for it is its cutting performance.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


A great reason to buy the Makita model is if you already own tools that use the same batteries. The LXT demonstrates good cutting performance, the chain tensioning system is one of the most solid and innovative of the “tool-free” types, and it's nice to be able to adjust the oil flow. However, there are several models in our review that have a more respectable overall performance.

Ross Patton
 

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